x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Importers fear falling foul of expiry ruling

Cabinet ruling reduces the shelf-life of poultry from seven days.

ABU DHABI // Poultry cannot be stored for more than three days after slaughter instead of the usual seven, the Cabinet ruled on Sunday.

The decision was made to ensure meat was safer. As the expiry date of most local poultry does not exceed three days, the effect on UAE producers is minor.

But Cabinet's report fails to specify whether the rule applies to imported poultry. Inclusion would hit importers hard.

"We need at least three working days for our poultry to arrive to the UAE from France," said Zahid Iqbal, the store manager of the food importer and wholesaler Promar Trading in Dubai. "This is very bad news if it applies to us and we would have to stop our fresh imports."

The company imports between four and six tonnes of frozen and fresh poultry a month, which it provides to five-star hotels, Carrefour and Spinneys across the UAE.

"There's no way that this would be feasible with the distance poultry travels from France," said Peter Lonsdale, LuLu's retail operations manager in Abu Dhabi.